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CEDAW adopts General Recommendation No. 36 on girls’ and women’s right to education

The General Recommendation draws particular attention to a wide range of matters regarding gender-based discrimination and violence, such as discrimination against LGBTI girls and women; sexual abuse of girls in/around schools; barriers that prevent women and girls from enjoying the right to education such as gender stereotyping in curricula, textbooks, pedagogical tools; and discrimination against women and girls with disabilities.

 

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 The Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has recently launched and adopted the General Recommendation No. 36 on girls’ and women’s right to education, aiming to guarantee that the various intersecting forms of inequalities and discrimination that girls and women face globally are addressed and eliminated.

The importance of guaranteeing a transformative, inclusive and quality education for all is central to fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015. Furthermore, the Education 2030 Framework for Action, agreed by the global education community in 2015 to accompany the SDG agenda, recognizes that "gender equality is inextricably linked to the right to education". CEDAW’s General Recommendation adds important and insightful policy interventions to these existing frameworks.

GCE notes that girls around the world are still experiencing gender based discrimination and violence from an early age. GCE is however inspired to note that the General Recommendation draws particular attention to a wide range of matters regarding gender-based discrimination and violence, such as: discrimination against LGBTI girls and women; issues women and girls face in accessing education due to fees or costs required by schools; sexual abuse of girls in/around school; barriers that prevent women and girls from enjoying the right to education such as gender stereotyping in curricula, textbooks, pedagogical tools; and discrimination against women and girls with disabilities.

Highlighting issues like these and the inter-related nature of discrimination against women and girls is key to the understanding and implementation of inclusive and equitable education for all. In a letter congratulating CEDAW, GCE president, Camilla Croso said: “We celebrate the guidance provided by the Committee on several cross-cutting issues that would allow governments, communities and civil society organizations to move forward the full realization of girls and women’s rights to education.”

The Recommendation is the product of many consultative processes between CEDAW and global stakeholders, and GCE celebrates the collaborative nature of this process. Indeed, in February 2012, GCE met the Committee and presented a comprehensive report entitled “Gender Discrimination in Education: The violation of rights of women and girls” (which you can read in English here). This report included updated global data and several qualitative case studies on gender equality in education.

GCE remains resolute that gender equality is key to the fulfilment of the human right to education. GCE congratulates CEDAW for its comprehensive Recommendation and renews its unconditional support to the goal of achieving discrimination-free education for all.

Read the full text of General Recommendation no.36 (in English) here.